1967- Ginsberg-Corso-Berryman at Spoleto

The recordings of Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso (and of an unlikely third-party, John Berryman, at the 1967 Festival of Two Worlds (“Festival dei Due Mondi”) at Spoleto in Italy, organized by Gian Carlo Menotti is the focus of this weekend’s post

[Allen Ginsberg, Spoleto, 1967]

Allen’s reading (which was also subsequently featured in the recording Ginsberg’s Thing (1969)), was the subject at the time of some controversy.   As his biographer Bill Morgan explains:

“The police in Spoleto seemed to be waiting for him and they picked up copies of the Italian translation of his poem “Who Be Kind Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 320

[Allen Ginsberg in the recording studio, 1989]

June 23, next Friday. We’re getting closer to the official release-date, but we’re already putting the word out  about this exciting Ginsberg re-release from Omnivore Recordings of Allen’s settings of William Blake.

Here’s more info (courtesy Aquarium Drunkard)

and here’s the official video just put out of Allen/Blake’s “The Garden of Love”

Speaking of William Blake, hats off to antiquarian bookseller, John Windle (“Windle’s connection to Blake is more spiritual than commercial”). Allen would, more than once, call Windle, Windle remembers, if he “needed a Blake fix”.

[William Blake ( 1757-1827] … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 316

[Allen Ginsberg with Jon Sholle at the recording for Allen Ginsberg/William Blake – The Songs of Innocence and Experience]

Excited to have received early advance copies  of  Pat Thomas‘ remarkable follow-up to the The Last Word on First Blues  CD-set, (release-date isn’t until June 23) – the  two-CD re-packaging of the Blake songs – The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience.

For a previous announcement on that important and highly-anticipated project – see here

Did we mention, May 8th, Gary Snyder‘s recent 87th birthday – this?  (an extensive and illuminating interview in Lion’s Roar ) –  … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 315

[Allen Ginsberg teaching at Naropa Institute – Photograph  Steve Silberman]

From Steve Silberman‘s review of the new Allen Ginsberg book, Bill Morgans selection of Allen’s lectures, Best Minds of My Generationwhich appeared last weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle:  

“Scholarly, wide-ranging and full of penetrating insight and fascinating literary gossip, the book is a major contribution to the core Beat canon, and provides an astonishingly intimate view of a homegrown American literary movement that would have a generative influence worldwide, inspiring generations of writers, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians and political activists across the globe..”… Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 313

[Allen Ginsberg reading and lecturing in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, 1993]

Allen’s new book, The Best Minds of My Generation, selections from Allen’s lectures (not to be confused with the lectures transcribed here on the Allen Ginsberg Project), “mercifully reduced to 455 pages, shorn of repetitions, student interventions and Ginsberg’s habit of beginning every sentence with “So” – (sic) – as the reviewer in the London Times would have it) continues to impress one and all.

Here’s an excerpt from Gaby Wood‘s review in London’s Daily Telegraph:

“Lovingly edited from recordings by Bill Morgan, who has … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 311

[Hal Chase, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, Morningside Heights, next to Columbia College, New York City, Winter 1944-45. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats – Bill Morgan’s masterly collection of Allen’s teaching wisdom   (from Naropa and Brooklyn College) appears today (official publication-day) from Grove Press (Grove Atlantic).

Here’s a few lines from Anne Waldman‘s lucid introduction:

“Allen Ginsberg devotedly, and with a loving perseverance, incubated these lectures on his primary literary Beat colleagues during his first teaching job at … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 309

The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of The Beats As Taught by Allen Ginsberg is just out (this past Tuesday) from Penguin Books in England. Next Friday, Grove Press will publish the American edition.  Interesting to compare the covers perhaps – the more sober UK edition, the more brash, more jazzy American? – Either way, it’s another essential Ginsberg book.   Reviews are already highly positive:

Publisher’s Weekly – “A gold mine for anyone interested in beat literature . . . Ginsberg reads and thinks like a poet; interested in language and style, he abandons narrative to … Read More

Instigating the Howl Trial – March 25, 1957

Sixty years ago today, the US Customs, in the person of Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated five-hundred-and-twenty copies of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”  – a pivotal moment  

From Bill Morgan‘s  Howl on Trial – The Battle for Free Expression:

“The Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated 520 copies [of Howl ] because, as he said, “The words and the sense of the writing is obscene…you wouldn’t want your children to come across it.”   U.S. Customs Law required a Federal Judge, upon application of the U.S. Attorney,  to grant permission to destroy the books. But, as [City Lights publisher, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 304

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[Allen Ginsberg “signing a book at Harry Smith‘s funeral with his montblanc pen”, 1991 – Photograph © Thomas Peters]

Michael Schumachers collection of miscellaneous Ginsberg interviews, First Thought, as we mentioned last week, will be published very soon. Meantime, it’s worth considering Schumacher’s other titles, his masterly distillation of The Essential Ginsberg (out from Harpers in 2015), his remarkable edit of the Ginsberg father-son letters, Family Business, (2001)  and his monumental biography, Dharma Lion (1994,recently re-issued by University of Minnesota Press in an expanded edition, 2016)

A recent review of the latter  the new edition … Read More

First Thought – Conversations With Allen Ginsberg

imageVery happy to announce a new Allen Ginsberg book, due out next month from the University of Minnesota Press, Michael Schumacher’s First Thought – Conversations With Allen Ginsberg, an inspiring collection of transcripts and rarely-seen interviews.

From the publisher’s web-site:  “Here, through previously-uncollected interviews, we encounter Allen Ginsberg elaborating on how speech, as much as writing and reading, and even poetry, is an act of art. Revealing, enlightening, and often just plain entertaining. Allen Ginsberg in conversation is the quintessential twentieth-century American poet as we have never before encountered him; fully present in pitch-perfect detail.”

“Testifying before a Senate … Read More